Yankees’ prospect coined the ‘lefty Aaron Judge’ has a chance to open eyes in spring training

spencer jones, yankees

As the New York Yankees navigate the offseason, the value and potential of prospect Spencer Jones have been a significant talking point. Despite trade interests from several teams, including a notable inquiry from the Milwaukee Brewers for Corbin Burnes, General Manager Brian Cashman has consistently declined offers, signaling the organization’s high expectations for Jones.

Yankees’ Prospect Development and Expectations

Jones, aware of the swirling trade rumors, has been a focal point of the Yankees’ future outfield plans, especially with his impressive progress through the farm system.

“I have buddies who text me all of the time and who send me all of the trade rumors,” Jones told The Athletic. “They wanted me to get traded to San Diego because that’s where I’m from. It’s easy to tune it out when it’s something you don’t put much stock into. Even guys from high school who I haven’t talked with in forever would send me a DM on Instagram and message me something like, ‘I can’t wait to see you play for the Padres.’ And it’s like, I know I’m not getting traded.”

At just 22 years old, Jones is rapidly ascending towards a major league debut anticipated in 2025, focusing on refining his swing and improving his offensive impact. Last season, he showcased his power potential across High-A Hudson Valley and Double-A Somerset, though his transition to Somerset highlighted areas for growth, particularly in reducing his strikeout rate to boost on-base percentages.

“It feels like a more athletic move now,” Jones said of his swing. “I’m able to stay grounded a lot better, and my eyes are in a better position for release and seeing spin. Simplifying my moves and allowing myself to be in a more athletic trigger spot allows you to create multiple reads off the ball. If your initial read isn’t great, you’re still in an athletic position to fire from, which allows you to make decisions a little bit later. Ultimately, the goal was to put myself in an athletic launching position and, once you get there, practice on firing towards different pitches in different directions.”

Drawing comparisons to Aaron Judge for his generational power, albeit from the left side of the plate, Jones’s potential to mirror or even approach Judge’s impact is a tantalizing prospect for the Yankees. Efforts to enhance his defensive capabilities, including studying film on Kevin Kiermaier, underscore the Yankees’ investment in his all-around development.

READ MORE: Yankees’ Gerrit Cole & Austin Wells are rapidly developing camaraderie in 2024 Spring Training

spencer jones, yankees
Hudson Valley Renegades outfielder Spencer Jones during media day on April 5, 2023. Renegades Media Day

Strategic Positioning and Future Outfield

With plans to position Jones in center field, the Yankees are preparing for a future outfield configuration that could see a blend of youth and experience. The potential departure of Juan Soto in free agency poses strategic decisions, particularly with Aaron Judge’s long-term placement and Jasson Dominguez’s role within the team. The vision of Jones, Judge, and Dominguez forming the outfield trio represents a dynamic shift toward ushering in a new era of talent.

Jones’s immediate future involves starting the 2023 season in Double-A, with expectations for a swift move to Triple-A as he builds a comprehensive resume for a call-up. His participation in spring training as a non-roster invitee offers an invaluable opportunity to integrate with the major league team, face MLB-caliber pitching, and further his development.

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